Reuters: The head of a group Iran has previously linked to al Qaeda and also blamed for several attacks in the southeast of the Islamic Republic has been injured and his brother killed, state TV reported on Saturday. TEHRAN, June 23 (Reuters) – The head of a group Iran has previously linked to al Qaeda and also blamed for several attacks in the southeast of the Islamic Republic has been injured and his brother killed, state TV reported on Saturday.
Jundollah (God’s Soldiers), a shadowy Sunni Muslim group led by Abdolmalek Rigi, most recently claimed responsibility for an attack on a bus owned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in February that killed at least 11 people.
“Military and security forces, after weeks of intelligence work, found the hiding place of members of Rigi’s terrorist group and attacked them,” state television reported, citing a judiciary official in southeast Sistan-Baluchistan province.
“In these attacks some terrorists were killed and a few of them, including Rigi, were injured and ran away,” it said, adding that Rigi’s brother was among the dead.
It did not give further details.
Alongside the February attack, Iran has said Jundollah was behind the murder of 12 people in a roadside attack last year and several other incidents in the southeast of the country, which is near the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Officials have previously said Rigi was a cell leader of Osama bin Laden’s Sunni Muslim al Qaeda network in Iran, an overwhelmingly Shi’ite Muslim country.
The southeast of Iran is notorious for clashes between the military and well-armed drugs smugglers. Parts of the region are dotted with forts, trenches and machinegun posts.
More than 3,300 Iranian security personnel have died in the region fighting drug traffickers since the 1979 Islamic revolution.